Employment positions and applications for the Winters Police Department are posted to the City of Winters Government Jobs web page HERE
Ride-a-longs are encouraged as part of the application process, but not required. Ride-a-long forms can be printed and mailed, turned into the Police Department (702 Main Street Winters, CA 95694), or emailed to email@example.com. To download an applicant ride-a-long form please click HERE.
Officer Applicant Information:
The hiring requirements to become a police officer are codified in the California Government Code, California Code of Regulations, and California Penal Code. The process is also memorialized in the Winters Police Department Policy Manual, Policy 1000 “Recruitment and Selection” (https://www.winterspolice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/RELEASE_20220705_T165602_Winters_Police_Department_Policy_Manual.pdf).
The statewide minimum standards to become a police officer are:
- Free from any disqualifications for employment, including felony convictions (GC 1029)
- A citizen of the United States or a permanent resident who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship (CHP officers must be US citizens at time of appointment)
- At least 21 years of age for specified peace officers (GC 1031.4)
- Fingerprinted for purposes of search of local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record
- Of good moral character, as determined by a thorough background investigation
- A high school graduate, pass the General Education Development test or other high school equivalency test approved by CDE, or have attained a two-year, four-year, or advanced degree from an accredited or approved institution
- Found to be free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition, including bias against race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, disability, or sexual orientation, which might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a peace officer.
The process to become a Police Officer at the Winters Police Department begins with an application upon a job opening being posted. The candidate undergoes a panel interview following the California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Hiring Interview Guidelines (https://post.ca.gov/interviewing-peace-officer-candidates-hiring-interview-guidelines). If successful, they are asked to complete and submit the POST Personal History Statement (“PHS”) (https://post.ca.gov/portals/0/post_docs/publications/2-251-phsPeaceOfficers.pdf). This requires them to list relatives, current and former spouses, personal references, education record, current and former roommates, current and former employers, military experience, financial information, legal/criminal information including any drug use, driving record information, as well as list every law enforcement agency they have applied to.
The information provided in the “PHS” is investigated by a trained background investigator, in our case a retired police detective with whom the Winters Police Department contracts. The background investigator, who interviews the applicant, their relatives, current and former spouses/romantic relationships, personal references, neighbors, current and former employers, and coworkers, and contacts any other law enforcement agency the applicant applied to regarding the applicants’ character, honesty, emotional maturity, biases, and many other topics. They also review the applicant’s driving record, financial history, military records (if applicable), as well as social media for any inappropriate conduct, hate speech, or indication of bias. The background investigator completes a comprehensive written report and reviews the report in person with the Chief of Police (https://post.ca.gov/background-investigation-manual-guidelines-for-the-investigator).
The “PHS” is also simultaneously provided to a trained Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) examiner, who is also a retired police detective with whom the Winters Police Department contracts. The CVSA is a “lie detector test” akin to the polygraph and, although this is not a state mandate, the regulations allow the individual agencies to exercise this option. The CVSA examiner reviews the information provided in the PHS with the applicant and queries about any information that may have been omitted or mitigated. The examiner then conducts a recorded interview, which is also analyzed by CVSA system. Although the CVSA operator is trained in interviewing techniques and detecting deception, the CVSA program detects stress when an applicant is attempting to conceal or mitigate information, allowing the CVSA examiner to focus on areas to conduct follow up questions on and notify the background investigator of possible areas of concern. The CVSA also completes a written report and reviews the report in person with the Chief of Police.
Any outright deceit or misinformation uncovered in the CVSA or the background investigation is grounds for immediate disqualification. Any factual discrepancies are thoroughly investigated and, if intentional or serious in nature, may also be grounds for disqualification. As a general rule, performance indicators and candidate information and records reviewed as part of the background investigation are evaluated by considering the candidate as a whole. A candidate’s qualifications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, using a totality-of-the circumstances framework, and taking into consideration the following:
- Age at the time the behavior occurred
- Passage of time
- Patterns of past behavior
- Severity of behavior
- Probable consequences if past behavior is repeated or made public
- Likelihood of recurrence
- Relevance of past behavior to public safety employment
- Aggravating and mitigating factors
- Other relevant considerations
If the applicant is recommended to move forward, they are given a “conditional offer of employment” incumbent upon passing a medical and psychological evaluation. Upon accepting the conditional offer of employment, the candidate is scheduled for these appointments.
The medical evaluation is conducted by the medical staff at a contracted health care facility. The evaluation consists of a comprehensive medical examination including blood work, eyesight and hearing, chest X-ray, stress EKG, among many other tests, as well as a review of the candidate’s previous medical history (https://post.ca.gov/medical-screening-manual).
The psychological evaluation is conducted by a psychologist from a contracted firm specializing in psychological evaluations for public safety. The evaluation consists of numerous written exercises and interviews and screens for any emotional or mental condition including bias against race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, disability, or sexual orientation, which might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a peace officer (https://post.ca.gov/peace-officer-psychological-screening-manual).
Upon successfully completing all phases of the process, the Chief of Police reviews all information contained in the background investigation, CVSA, medical, and phycological evaluation. The applicant is interviewed by the Chief of Police to ensure fit for the Winters Police Department. The Winters Police Department prides itself on providing a high level of customer service and, as a result, enjoys a high level of support from our community’ therefore, we are looking for individuals that embrace and adhere to our Mission, Vison, Core Principles and Values, and Motto (https://www.winterspolice.org/about-us/).
At this time, the applicant may be offered a “formal offer of employment” to be a Police Officer at the Winters Police Department. The entire hiring process, regardless of agency, takes three to four months (or more), costs approximately $3000.00 per candidate, and less than 50% of candidates successfully pass the entire process.
Assuming the candidate has already successfully attended and passed a POST Basic Police Academy, they may be sworn in, equipped, and then start the Winters Police Department’s 16-week POST approved Field Training Program (FTP) under the guidance, supervision, and daily evaluation of three different experienced Field Training Officers (FTO). The Police Officer in training may have their training period extended to receive remediation training at any point and failure to improve may be grounds for termination (https://www.winterspolice.org/contactstaff/pc13650_sb978/).
If the candidate has not attended the POST Basic Academy, they are “sponsored” in the academy as a “Police Officer Trainee.” The POST Basic Academy is 22-26 week, depending on which academy they are sent to. The trainee is observed and evaluated daily, receives instruction and is tested on 42 Learning Domains, as well as trained and tested on physical fitness, firearms, driving, defense tactics, and scenarios-based training (https://post.ca.gov/regular-basic-course). Failure to successfully pass any phase of the Academy is ground for termination. After the Academy, the trainee is sworn in as a Police Officer and then undergoes the Field Training Program as described above.
Depending on if they have already attended the Academy or were sent to the Academy, a new Police Officer is on a probationary period of 12 to 18 months. The new Police Officer is observed and evaluated by a supervisor with written evaluations every three months. Any lack of performance or performance issues are addressed by the supervisor, and they may be subject to being placed back in the Field Training Program for remediation training. If the new Police Officer fails to improve, or there are any serious breaches of policy or law, they may be subject to termination prior to the end of probation period.
Effective January 1, 2023, Police Officers in the State of California must be “certified.” Police Officers will have their certification revoked and they will be permanently prohibited from being employed as a Police Officers for engaging in serious misconduct, including for any serious misconduct that occurred within the last three years (January 1, 2020). The term Serious misconduct is defined in the bill as:
- Abuse of power
- Physical abuse
- Sexual assault
- Demonstrating bias
- Acts that violate the law and are sufficiently egregious or repeated as to be inconsistent with a peace officer’s obligation to uphold the law
- Participation in a law enforcement gang
- Failure to cooperate with an investigation into potential police misconduct
- Failure to intercede
Why Work at the Winters Police Department?
Unfortunately, law enforcement has suffered an 80% reduction in applications between 2015 and 2022. When polled, potential police officer applicants cite this is primarily due to the perceived lack of support by the public, which undermines their sense of purpose and higher calling of service and self-sacrifice.
Despite personnel shortages, more pay, and hiring bonuses at every neighboring agency, the Winters Police Department has remained staffed primarily because the Police Officers are appreciated and valued and know that their efforts truly make a difference every day in the lives of Winters residences.
As Chief of Police, I am infinitely proud of the men and women of the Winters Police Department and their dedication to Winters - not only what they do with our limited resources but how they do it. We recognize the vast majority of residents and visitors wholeheartedly support us and, for that, we are exceptionally grateful. We also recognize that some have had cause to have a negative interaction with the Winters Police Department. Regardless, we aspire that you were treated with dignity and respect and, if not, we welcome the incident to be brought to our attention. We commit we will review the incident, including the officer’s body and vehicle camera footage of the incident, to ensure our Police Officers acted within the law and with the upmost professionalism.